Mamas on Bedrest: Your Love is The Medicine Your Little One Needs to Survive

August 31st, 2010

The Most Heartbreaking News

It was almost too heartbreaking to read. After 20 minutes of trying, neonatologists had to tell Kate Ogg that her tiny little son Jamie, born at a mere 27 weeks and weighing only 2 lbs, was gone.

A Mother’s Loving Touch

Despite the fact that twin sister Emily was doing well, Kate Ogg and her husband David clung to each other and tiny Jamie completely absorbed in their grief. “I couldn’t let him go,” says Ogg. She stayed there, clutching the tiny body to her chest. Miraculously, after two hours of being hugged, stroked, talked to and kissed by his mom, little Jamie began showing signs of life.  First, it was just a gasp. The doctors assured Ogg and her husband that this was simply reflex a breath and that little Jamie was in fact gone. But when the infant began to stir a bit more, Ogg put a drop of breast milk on her finger and little Jamie drank it. Ogg could hardly believe her eyes. Then little Jamie opened his eyes, lifted his hand and grasped her finger. He finally turned his head from side to side. Even the doctors stared in disbelief. Little Jamie was alive, safe and secure in his mother’s arms against her chest.

Kangaroo Care

Numerous research studies have reported on the effects of a mother’s love and touch on infants, especially premature infants. Kangaroo Care, the position that Ogg unknowingly assumed with little Jamie, consists of placing a diaper clad premature baby in an upright position on a parent’s bare chest – tummy to tummy, in between the breasts.  The baby’s head is turned so that the ear is above the parent’s heart. Many studies report that this position soothes the infant; steadying heart rate, calming respiration, alleviating tummy upset and soothing colic. This soothing position has also shown to help babies sleep, gain weight and thus progress enough to leave the NICU and go home. Some researchers dispute the efficacy of kangaroo care, stating that data is too subjective and there are few measurable endpoints.  Most studies have proven that Kangaroo Care has a major, positive impact on babies and their parents. Some studies have proven there is no change, but no study has proven that Kangaroo Care has hurt either parent or baby.

The Mind/Body Connection, A Mother’s Love and Mamas on Bedrest

Jennifer Gunter, MD, gives a wonderful explanation of Mind-Body medicine in her book, The Preemie Primer.

“Mind-Body medicine is the idea that our thoughts and emotions influence physical health, and harnessing this connection improves both emotional and physical well-being.”

Gunter further explains that chemicals such as neurotransmitters and hormones send messages all over the body. These chemicals can either stimulate a stress response or be controlled and used to effect positive health outcomes. While thoughts are not enough to cure disease alone, they can certainly be complimentary.

So what does this mean for Mamas on Bedrest? It means that your thoughts can influence your pregnancy outcome. Bed rest is never anyone’s idea of a great way to spend pregnancy. Unfortunately, about one out of every five pregnancies ends up on bed rest for part of the pregnancy. You may be feeling somewhat discouraged on bed rest, worried and afraid that things won’t turn out well. Stop those negative thoughts-NOW! Because your thoughts affect your body’s chemicals, negative thoughts send out negative brain chemicals and hormones and can have a negative effect on your health and the health of your baby. Start now to tell your baby how much you love him or her. Sing happy songs to your baby, read to him and envision holding your little darling. While this may seem silly, you are actually changing the chemical make up of your body and the chemical make up of your pregnancy. But don’t believe me, look at what soothing words and loving thoughts did for little Jamie Ogg!

How have you used positive imagery and soothing thoughts to get you through your bed rest experience? Share you successes as well as you challenges in our comments section.

Do finances have you worried while on bed rest? Stay tuned to some exciting news coming from Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond.

2 responses to “Mamas on Bedrest: Your Love is The Medicine Your Little One Needs to Survive”

  1. Lisbeth Tanz says:

    You are so right on with this post! Our thoughts DO affect everyone around us – especially the tiny life growing inside. This is fantastic advice about staying positive and not allowing dark thoughts to overcome us.

  2. Darline says:

    Thanks Lisbeth.
    It is so hard for Mamas on Bed rest to feel like they have any control of their situation. Just wanted to remind them, and SHOW THEM, how powerful they really are. Thanks again for the comment.

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